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Fatwas Regarding Women

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Questions Related to Funerals

There is No Harm in the Husband Washing His Wife's Body

Question: I have often heard from the general public that when a wife dies, it is no longer permissible for her husband to look at her or to place her in the grave. Is this correct? Please respond, may Allah bless you.

Response: The Shariah evidences indicate that there is no harm in the husband washing his wife or for him to look at her. There is also no harm in her washing him or looking at him. In fact, Asma bint Umais washed her husband's body, Abu Bakr al-Sideeq. And Fatima willed that she be washed by her husband Ali.

Shaikh ibn Baz

Ruling Concerning Post-Burial Gathering

Question: What is the ruling concerning what is known as al-ma`tim, in which people gather for three days after the burial in order to recite the Quran?

Response: The gathering in the house of the deceased to eat, drink and recite the Quran is an innovation. Similarly, their getting together to pray for the person and make supplications for him are also innovations. There is no source for it. All that should be done is that people come to pay condolences, pray for the person, ask for mercy for them, console their grieving and encourage them to be patient. To gather for what they call al- ma'tim, to make particular supplications, particular prayers or reading of the Quran has no basis whatsoever. If that were a good act, our pious predecessors would have done it. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not do it. When Jafar ibn Abu Talib, Abdullah ibn Rawaaha and Zaid ibn Haaritha were killed at the Battle of Mu'tah and the Prophet (peace be upon him) received the news through revelation, the Prophet (peace be upon him) announced that to the Companions and told them their news. He supplicated for them and asked Allah to be pleased with them. He did no make a gathering. He did not prepare a meal or have a ma'tim. All of that he did not do even though the three who died were from the most virtuous of the Companions. When Abu Bakr died, also no one made a ma'tim, even though he was the best of the Companions. When Umar was killed, no one made a ma'tim. The people did not gather to pray or read the Quran for him. Uthman and Ali were killed and the people did not gather after a specific time to pray for them, ask mercy for them or prepare food for them. It is, however, recommended for the relatives or neighbors of the deceased to prepare food for the deceased's family and to send that food to them. This is similar to what the Prophet (peace be upon him) did when the news of Jafar's death came to him. He said to his family,

"Prepare food for the family of Jafar as something has occurred to them that is preoccupying them."'

The family of the deceased are preoccupied with their loss. To prepare food for them and send it to them is what is legal sanctioned. However, to add to their affliction and to put more responsibilities on their shoulders by making them prepare food for the people goes completely against the sunnah. In fact, it is an innovation. Jarir ibn Abdullah al-Bajali said, "We used to consider gathering with the family of the deceased and preparing food after the burial as a kind of lamentation." And lamentation is forbidden. This is to raise one's voice, while the deceased is punished in the grave due to the wailing over him. One must avoid such practices. However, there is no harm in crying with tears.

Shaikh ibn Baz


1. Recorded by al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and ibn Majah. According to a Albani, it is hasan. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami, vol. 1, p. 234.-JZ

There is No Particular Day for the Paying of Condolences

Question: Is specifying three days for the paying of condolences considered an innovation? Is there paying of condolences for young children, elderly women and ill people from whom one does not expect intercession after their death?

Response: Giving condolences is sunnah as it strengthens the one afflicted and contains supplications for what is better for them. There is no difference in this matter between the deceased being young or old. Furthermore, there is no specific expression that one should use. Instead, the Muslim consoles his brother with whatever expression seems suitable at that time, such as saying, "May Allah make your grief easier and forgive your deceased." This is if the deceased were a Muslim. If the deceased were a disbeliever, then supplications should not be made for him. One only consoles for his Muslim relatives with the words above.

There is no specific time for it, nor any specific days. It is legally sanctioned from the time of death, before Funeral Prayer or afterwards, as well as before the burial or afterwards. It is best to do it soon after the death when the affliction is still strong. However, it is permissible after three days of the death since there is no evidence to restrict it [to the first three days only].

Shaikh ibn Baz

Wailing Over the Dead

Question: Is it allowed to cry for someone after they die? If the crying includes wailing, slapping the cheeks and tearing the clothes, is the deceased affected by it?

Response: Neither lamenting nor wailing is allowed. Tearing clothing, slapping one's cheeks and similar deeds are also not allowed. It is confirmed in the Sahihs of al-Bukhari and Muslim from ibn Masud that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"Not from us is the one who slaps the cheeks, tears the front opening of the shirt or makes the calls of the Days of Ignorance."

It is also confirmed that the Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed the wailer and its audience.1

It is also authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"The deceased is punished in his grave due to the wailing over him"

In another narration, it states,

"The deceased is punished due to the crying of the family over him."2

The Standing Committee


1. Recorded by Abu Dawud and Ahmad. According to al-Albani, the chain of this narration is weak. Muhammad Nasir al-Dinal-Albani, Dhaeef Sunan Abu Dawud (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1991), p. 317.--JZ

2. Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.-- JZ

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